The military obligations of the English people 1511-1558
This thesis is concerned with the military obligations of the people of England in the period between the re-issue of the Statute of Winchester in 1511 and its repeal in 1558. In its pages an attempt is made to discover what these obligations were and how they were enforced. The primary purpose of this thesis is to show that the Crown enforced these obligations in two different ways - to establish the hitherto unrecognized fact that there were two distinct military systems in England in the early Tudor period. On the one hand was the "national" system, under which groups of gentlemen (acting on the authority of commissions of array) prepared men for the wars in the shires, hundreds, and parishes of the kingdom. On the other hand was the "quasi-feudal" system, under which individual gentlemen (acting on the authority of signet letters) prepared men for the wars from the ranks of their own tenants, servants, and other dependants. An examination of the workings of these two systems occupies the first two parts of this thesis. The third part is devoted to matters which concern both systems and matters which concern neither. The two systems existed side by aide throughout the reigns of the first four Tudors, often overlapping and. sometimes clashing. By the end of Mary's reign, however, the quasi-feudal system had been almost completely superseded by the national one, and from this time forth the armies of the Crown were to be composed almost exclusively of the men of the local militias.